How many magazines per gun

How Many Magazines Per Gun

How many mags should I have per gun? Well, can you ever have too many? Okay, kidding aside, you may be wondering how many magazines per gun to have on hand (for your pistols, rifles).

I polled the readers here awhile back during the time period while Trump was President, and there were lesser relative concerns about this. But I will be curious if opinion has changed any – now that it’s 2021 with the present regime and their well known plans and ambitions in this regard (2A takedown).

Let us know your current opinion in the comments below…

(see poll results below)

How Many Pistol Mags For SHTF

The majority felt that 4 to 6 extra mags per gun (pistol) was just about right. That question was not asked in context of SHTF. Rather, a general question. Still, four to six extra magazines does feel like a good number to be at. It allows for mag rotation, and spares.

Note: If you’re referencing a revolver, then I suppose we’re talking about extra Speedloaders than magazines…

How Many Magazines Per Rifle

10 magazines or more per gun (rifle / AR). That was the result of our poll. In fact, the majority said “more” than 10, while “10” came in second place. This question at the time referenced Rifles / AR platform.

Tip: Mark all your magazines (serialize in some way). That way if one of them becomes problematic, you know which one is which. I use an oil-based paint marker pen for this.

Reasons why you might consider having extra magazines for your guns – pistols & rifles:

  • Potential for Leftist Regime .gov ban attempts of so called “high capacity” magazines
  • Magazine may eventually become damaged from usage
  • Your semi-auto firearms become essentially useless without a magazine
  • Attempts at gun control always cause shortages of supply
  • SHTF collapse survival, maintain adequate supply for security operations
  • Magazines (and Guns & Ammo) will become extremely valuable during SHTF
  • ?


A magazine is an ammunition storage / feeding device within or attached to a repeating firearm. Magazines can be removable (detachable) or integral to the firearm. The magazine functions by moving the cartridges stored in the magazine into a position where they may be loaded into the chamber by the action of the firearm. The detachable magazine is sometimes referred to as a clip, which is technically inaccurate, depending…

Magazine vs. Clip

I couldn’t resist posting a previous comment from “Dennis”…

There is a sort of bigotry by many present day weapons “experts” who seem to take delight in the semantics of clip vs. magazine.

Many of those who use the “wrong” terminology are either the ones, or the children of, those who actually used those Garands in WWII.

They saw the “clip” as the cartridge holding device you inserted into the “magazine” built into the rifle. The built in magazine had the spring that pushed up the bullets to engage the bolt face as it went into battery.

Funny thing is, the device used to hold and quickly load rounds into the older 1903 Springfield (and the Mauser it copied, both of which had a built in spring loaded “magazine”) was called a clip also. We call them “stripper” clips now.

The enbloc clip of the Garand actual was just an improvement on the method of charging the “magazine”.

POLL Results: How Many Magazines Per Gun

>> MTM TMC15 Tactical Mag Can
(view on amzn)

[ Read: Only One Gun in a Survival Situation ]

[ Read: Best Long Guns & Handguns For SHTF ]


  1. Hmmmm, I didn’t think that was the question. Rather, one’s recommendation, regardless of where one is at with their own spares. Though I get your sentiment.

    1. Ken –
      I know what the question was, but once someone gives out that kind of information – “How many mags would I have for my “imaginary” firearm, if I in fact actually had a firearm but of course I am against firearms altogether myself.”
      Riigghht !

    2. As to how many magazines pre….it would depend on the mag capacity…..

  2. you aren’t likely to get the ammo needed to fill those mags for many years ,people are still buying firearms at record rates and it’s not going to stop anytime soon ,they know where things are heading

    1. A gun with no ammo, Better off buying baseballs…..just being funny or not.

    2. Ammo is still available. Not a day goes by that I can’t find some vendor selling ammo. You just have to ask yourself how much are you willing to pay?

      1. You should already have a healthy stash of thousands of rounds of factory ammunition. Then have a Dillon press and thousands of primers and bullets and cans of powder. Then when something like this happens you’re setting pretty while everyone else is running around like a chicken with their head cut off. Its called BEING PREPARED.

  3. I am in full agreement with Don. I cannot find ammo in stores either.

    3 mags for each weapon is adequate for me as I have practice in the combat reload. Beyond 3 magazines and you are talking about carrying a bandolier or stuffing the mags within a backpack.

  4. There’s no real or correct answers in polls such as this. It’s more of a “what’s your comfort level” question.

    Preppers are, by nature, folks who plan for worst case scenarios. Most of us take comfort in knowing we have more than we need….and justify the excess by saying that we can always use that excess as barter or trade goods, which may very well be true.

    Tell us there may not be any more of any item, our first impulse is to stockpile more of it (I’m just as guilty as anyone).

    Truth is….I may have way to much ammo, and too many magazines (clips to you uneducated gun owners)….or I have not near enough….ain’t no such thing as just the right amount.

    I ain’t buying any more….unless I do……………

  5. Since Ken saw fit to resurrect that old comment of mine on clips vs. magazines….that’s one of those pet peeves of mine. That and pistol vs. revolver, automatic vs. semi-automatic.

    Having been around guns and gun people all my life, and studying the history of guns and the evolving of descriptive terminology, I have discovered very little correlation between one’s knowledge of correct gun terminology and their abilities using those guns (yes, I’m a veteran and know the difference between my rifle and my gun…and their intended usage).

    I’ll throw in another tid-bit of why old timers might have “confused” clips with magazines. Way back when the military adopted the 1911 caliber .45, the ammo was manufactured and shipped already loaded in the magazines. The magazines were designed an intended to be used once and then discarded….same as the ammo for their 1903 Springfield…and later on, the M1 Garand….and yes, the M1 Carbine….the “clips” and “magazines” were one time usage affairs.

  6. I think the real questions are 1) Mags for daily carry 2) Mags carried for SHTF and 3) Backup mags?
    Whelter for pistol or rifle. Biggest problem facing people now is prices have gone through the roof.

    If your not already stocked up, you better have lots of money. Last I checked 9mm rounds were $2 each and only way I found them was on plus shipping.

    1. But, but, but,…. what if? (just kiddin’)

      What about back-up or second guns?

      Hollywood depictions seldom get history right, especially when dealing with cowboys, frontiersmen, and sod bustin’ pioneers, but occasionally you see stuff that makes sense.

      Take note of some of the battle scenes fighting Indians or bandidos, and using one shooter with two or more doing the reloading for them, utilizing two or more rifles.

      It’s a well worn saying, but two is one, one is none…always makes sense.

  7. Interesting Poll as I’m sure I participated last time before I lost everything to Navajo Lake.

    The number of Clips in the Dream List would be determined on how many Bullets that particular Clip would hold, don’t ya think? 10 bullets or some that can hold up to 100 boom-booms
    DENNIS you know I’m messing with ya right… HAHAHAHA

    Something to think about, the “average” gun fight is a total of 2.5 rounds at a distance of 12′ plus-or-minus last time I checked

    Sure if your laying on the beach of Normandy you may need several thousand rounds, but for home defense or Carry? Gata remember us old fat farts just can’t carry 1000 rounds around as we are shopping at Wally World.

    Spare Magazines for breakage and for the day (may be sooner than you think) the Damb-O-Craps pass laws to confiscate firearms and abolish the Second Amendment. But for now, how about the correct answer of “What can you reasonable afford” and can you find them?

    1. I made a huge deposit to Navajo lake…I see the water level has risen significantly!

  8. Magazine, clip, whatever. Yes, I know the difference. We have an older family member who will call everything clips. He is accurate from the lingo of his day. IMHO the terminology is not that important if you can hit what ya aim at. This old man can still shoot.

    I recall this question from 2017. Mags were pretty cheap back then. Ammo too.

  9. Magazine capacity might be determinative, and speed loaders/strips for revolvers as well depending how and what you carry. Double loads for shotgun as well Easy to load two from one grab.

  10. Interestingly enough…..I just got an e-mail from GunMag Warehouse.

    Headline–“Ammo in stock…tons more coming!”

    I didn’t go to the website, but on the first page of the e-mail they had Winchester wb 5.56 $19.99 for 20 rounds-$34.99 for 20 round Federal .45acp JHP-$34.99 for 50rounds PMC 115gr 9mm FMJ.

    Sure glad I’m not in the market, but passing this along to those who are……………

    1. Slightly off topic,
      Dennis and others, what is your opinion on having AR platform rifles? Im just curious if its really even something i need, honestly, i doubt it, if things go sideways it will be with my bolt gun and 590 shotgun i will reach for. What say you folks?

      1. I am happy with the M4, using the M855 rounds. It is an old friend.

        However, I think of firearms like a set of golf clubs. Each has its own specific characteristics to be applied to specific needs.

        It is not the weapon, but the person operating it.

      2. Kulafarmer
        My 2¢ worth…

        If “they” don’t want you to have it, that’s reason enough for me to “have” it.

        Will you ever “need it” probably not, but in the same thought, there are a LOT of things we really don’t “need” but have anyways….. right?

        Just remember they do seem to be hungry animals to feed.

      3. Kulafarmer,

        I know it sounds sacrilegious on prepper/survival sites, but I can live w/o the AR platform. Didn’t much like them in the Army…have had couple since, but always someone comes along that wanted them worse the I did.

        Not that they are a bad rifle. Like most mil-spec weapons, they are user simple, and generally idiot proof. Like most weapons with a cult following, there are a gadzillion accessories for them…and most folks hang 15 or 20 of those gadgets on to theirs, making them too heavy and unwieldly….and expensive.

        Before the great boating accident with NRP, I had many guns I would chose for the times to come…..but now? Simple, light, and handy……heck, a little 10/22 with a red-dot and a few 25 round factory mags would serve most my needs….for the table and for two and four legged varmints…..but, then, I’m a realist that’s been down more than one road.

        1. Thanks guys,,
          im just weighing the utility of these things VS my need to pay the bills!
          Im no gunfighter, im no tacticool wonder either, just a simple craftsman who likes bein left alone, likes working in the shop and watching nature around me. I just think theres things i have that i really wont miss if i turn them into cash!

        2. Nailbender:
          I’ll agree with Dennis 1000%. A nice 10/22 is way underrated but a very nice tool to have.
          And never underestimate that little 22 doing a few K. Will take a Coyote at 100 with no problems.
          Just put good glass on that thing, ya can’t hit it if’n ya can’t see it.

        3. NRP,

          I know that most folks here weren’t caught flat-footed by this latest round of guns and ammo shortages, but I wonder about all those folks who were saving their pennies and dimes until they could buy that AR…..’cause everybody said you just had to have one…..when they could of bought a basic 10/22 and 10k rounds of ammo for the price of an entry level no-name AR with no sights and no ammo.

          Now? They can buy neither and have none……….

      4. Kulafarmer,

        I’d highly suggest not only an AR15 platform/Civilian M4 but a Semi Auto Battle Rifle chambered in 7.62 NATO.

  11. Recommend if you have a “problematic mag” Keep it for training purposes. load it up on an unsuspecting student then let them clear the jam or if it is their first time show them how to clear it safely.

  12. ….or should the question be,
    How many weapons per one mag??
    100 weapons, a couple mags a piece? Good to go

    How much ammo do you have?
    How much food, water, stored fuel, cash on hand?
    Batteries, TP?
    It’s an endless list.

    How much is enough/will be enough?

    There is no correct answer.

    Be thankful you have some and not none.

  13. Reply to Kula: I built an AR platform when I left California because I could. I ended up selling it at a profit less than 1 year later. I had trouble hitting moving targets with it. I did much better with a Ruger mini 14. That is why I still have the mini 14 and sold the AR, I was never in the military.

    I like AR’s because they are modular and one can purchase replacement parts and have them installed with minimal gun smithing. The downside is those replacement parts cost lots of money.

    I started shooting and hunting as a boy with a single shot rifle. Most youngsters started out with a semi-auto 22 rimfire rifle. I developed into the one shot/one kill type of hunter which transitioned well into the world of target shooting as an adult. My uncle gave us boys a task: he gave us each 5 22 long rifle rounds and a semi auto rifle with the magazine pulled out. We were to hit five squirrels with those 5 rounds. My uncle would pick me up several hours later with 3 squirrel tails and 2 bullets left. AR platforms are fun but they do not teach or encourage fire discipline.

  14. I still like and shoot my bolt action rifles. Next month, I will go to Eastern Or to thin out the sage rats. My tools for the trip: 2 bolt action rifles. 1 is in 17 HMR that is fed by magazine and the other is a single shot rifle in 22 Hornet.

    Those young mall ninjas are about to get an education in what an old Fudd can do.

    1. Calirefugee more often than not it’s the Shooters Skills not the weapons limits.

      The hardest thing to teach is fire discipline. Bolt actions help but bang bang excitement is still a thing.

      What’s your opinion of the 22 Mag vs 22 Long Rifle, 17 HMR (A necked down 22 Mag) and that 22 hornet (I assume you reload it)?

    2. Calirefugee
      22 Hornet is a nice round, guy i sold my 300WM to had just bought one and was using it on deer with no issues, axis are small, and a pest here. I will always keep one AR, just mostly because it connects to my JP 22LR upper, sweet setup and so far from experience gives a 10-22 a solid run for its money.

  15. Reply to NHMichael in regards to 22 Magnum vs 22 long rifle vs 17HMR vs 22 Hornet.

    I have guns that fire all of the above cartridges. The 22 long rifle and 22 Magnum are in a Ruger single six with 2 cylinders that swap out. Good gun to have during an ammo shortage. This revolver is I use shorts and CB caps in when I check traps. I also have a Ruger Mark 4 semi-auto pistol for target work or obtaining meat. The 22 magnum is incredibly loud to fire and it is difficult to sound suppress a revolver. I am a big fan of 17 HMR because it is a go-to round for shooting sage rats and prairie dogs close to human habitation. ( I can fire into a gallon jug of water and the bullet will fragment within the jug using the 17 grain V-max. This means no ricochet). Living out West, I waited a few years before obtaining my first rifle because of supply issues. ( Out West, we had rifles butt no ammo for several years.).
    I bought the 22 Hornet because of the supply issues with rimfire ammo I observed over the years. I needed a good short range rifle to use within settled areas that uses reloadable casings.

  16. Continued reply to NHMichael and Kula-dude: When I bought the 22 Hornet rifle, I bought a set of dies and shell holders for the 22 Hornet. I also began ordering several thousand pieces of brass in addition to powder, bullets and primers. End result: I now have enough to see me through my retirement years.
    Before this last ammo drought, I was almost always able to obtain supplies to reload this round. Most people wanted something faster, newer sexier etc. I like the efficiency of this round. From a good rifle/scope combination, I can make the head shot on rodents out to 75 yards away and make full torso shots out to 180 yards. Each shot only uses 10 to 12 grains of powder and a bullet that weighs in at 35 or 40 grains. I also use small pistol primers for this round for more consistent results/tighter groups/fewer pressure spikes.
    I learned about this round from a few old poachers i arrested in my youth. They were tough to catch red handed. ( I staked out their pick-up truck.) This round is much more quiet than other centerfire 22 rifles without a suppressor.

    1. Calirefugee could you describe a good scope for your 22 mag and 22 hornet please? My aging eyes lately struggle to hit a squirrel at 50 yards. I’m blaming it on the bi-focals :-) Early morning and evening shots seem to need a larger scope to gather enough light for a good shot.

      LOL around here 22 Mag is the poacher rifle of choice. In a rifle pretty quiet, in a pistol a pretty loud flame thrower. However in a revolver as a utility-garden gun a few 22 shorts backed up by 22 WMR makes a good weird acting dog stopper with the quieter 22 Shorts for use on garden pests.

  17. – Personal favorite just piddlin’ around or seeing what upset the dog gun? Savage 24C with a .22 LR on top, and a 20-gauge cylinder bore on the bottom. I use subsonic or target loads most often as they are quiet and do not disturb the neighbors, and are perfectly capable of dropping a raccoon or a large dog in their tracks. I have had good results with it, and should I need it, the lower barrel will put three ¾ oz. slugs in the black part of the Ace of Spades at 50 yards. That should account for anything I might stumble on from the North American continent.

    I am familiar with the AR family of rifles, and can use one without having to think about it. I gave my youngest daughter my Mini-14 and ten magazines along with ammo, as I really prefer it I’m afraid I would need an extra-large crowbar to separate it from her. My own personal choice for a rifle, though, is a Remington bolt with a 3×9 variable scope mounted on it. Ranges here tend to be long and open. Calirefugee and I once discussed subcaliber devices for just such a rifle; .32 in a .308 makes a very decent substitute for a .22 magnum, but quieter.

    1. As far as pistols go, I really very much like the .45 Colt auto and conceal carried one for Uncle for years. I have a 9mm I would characterize as adequate. My preferred working guns are a .22 and a .357 revolver, though.

      – Papa S.

      1. – To answer the question, I have four mags for the Colt, and three for the Beretta; the Ruger has three also.
        – Papa

        1. – Kulafarmer,
          The 1911A1 is the absolute best pistol ever made. Bar none.
          – Papa

        2. Yessir… really are the bestest. My uncle had one in Korea, I had one in Viet Nam, Panama, and elsewhere.

  18. Personally I am at about:
    5K 7.62 x 39
    10K .22 LR
    2K .38
    4K .380
    2K 12 Ga including 00, bird shot, deer slugs, and ‘a few’ modified rounds using 8 1/8 inch rods
    1K .30-.30
    1K .30-06

    But, I always remember that my uncle once told me that one well placed shot takes the place of up to 100 rounds barfed out of a “Ma-Deuce”. (M-2 for you civilians….AKA .50 cal machine gun)

    So, with that in mind, I have taken it as a challenge to better the usage of the ‘fire-sticks’ that I have. With a ‘range’ on the property….’range’ meaning a place I can shoot from with nothing but a big ol’ pile of dirt behind it…..I have kept up my ability of hitting things with one shot. Things like wine bottles, small pumpkins, useless yard-art, and my favorite……printed images of my ‘favorite’ political jerks.

    Oh, and I have around 8K rounds for my .22 cal pellet gun. I really like that thing. Low noise signature. Good report with contact with a solid target. And ya don’t have to clean it all the time. And if ya look around, there are some really funky ‘pellets’ you can get. Some with copper “BBs” in them that rip the snot right out of whatever your aiming at.

  19. Reply to NHMichael regarding scoped rifles: I would ask Ken to reprint my input on scopes for rifles in the thread he posted from me regarding brightness, large scopes etc years ago. If I remember right, I said:
    #1 I prefer the Leupold vari-X 2 scopes because it was the right balance of low enough cost for me to buy one or more. High enough quality that I have been well served by them in years past.
    #2 I use the 3×9 variable power scopes of a moderate size because a big ocular lens does not mean better visual acuity or increase in light transmission. ( this is dependent upon quality of the lens and the coatings used on the scope lens.).
    #3 On my varmint rifles, the scopes are not too big and heavy. Though there is minimal recoil, big heavy scopes are usually indictors of inexpensive and poor quality optics. They will also shear off the screws holding the scope rings to the receiver when firing heavy recoil cartridges.

    In recent years, i have purchased some used Leupold Rifleman series scopes and have been using one of these on top of my 17 HMR with good results for the past 5 years. ( friend bought a new scope so he sold his old scope to me.)

  20. Note to NRP: When going varmint shooting in a field that has not been touched, Many people are amazed their first time out. You can find yourself surrounded by squirrels or prairie dogs. Fortunately, these critters do not shoot back or attack your vehicle with suicide vests or satchel charges. Most new shooters are just amazed at the abundance so they keep firing their weapons. I like to take a break once in a while to run a brush & patch down the bore, eat candy bar and drink some water, let the barrels cool down a bit.

    One way you can tell if you are making a difference in the number of hits: The seagulls and hawks will see the meat on the ground and come flocking in like a pre-pandemic pizza party. Then and only then will the rodents go below ground. The birds are there picking them off on year round basis where I am an infrequent visitor. Time to go to another field.

    For entertainment value, I pulled a Sibley’s field guide to Birds of North America and showed it to my guide. He still talks about that episode.

  21. Magazines are a consumable. Buy them when you can get them cheap.

    Sometimes magazines are insanely expensive. Take a Taurus pistol. They’re expensive when the pistol is in production then insanely expensive when they go out of production. And many manufacturers don’t like multi-firearm magazines.

    I’m not a huge fan of the small primer AR platform. However, I may or may not have… Plenty. Pretty much any idiot can use one and it has little recoil when properly tuned. So even the most sensitive shooter can deal with them if you want to put an adjustable gas block and mess with different buffer weights.

    I have a fascination with the DPMS LR308 Gen1 (long receiver) AR10-similar rifle. Shoots softer than a bolt gun but super common lower parts as all but the magazine catch and pins are common with an AR15.

    It’s always a hoot when some Fudd thinks you’ve got another goddamn AR15 until you rattle them with that first round out of a 16″ barrel.

    I think the fewest magazines I have is for a Savage 110 and I have 10 of them.

    You can fit 24 D&H AR15 magazines in a MTM 50 cal can. Or 50 Glock magazines in a 50 cal metal can. Or..

  22. JustSayin’ asks’ “Why advertise what you have?” We’ll assume this is in regards to magazines since it is in the comment section of a “magazine article”….

    My answer is that I have I don’t mind answering since I have zero F&@%$ to give on this particular subject regarding OPSEC.. :)

  23. In a SHTF situation, a loadout of 210 rounds would be common.
    IF you get into a firefight and survive you may have lost half of you mags or are not recoverable.
    I have plenty of mags, been putting them back for three decades both pistol and rifle.
    Unlike in the army, you will have no resupply chain, you go with what you got.
    Battlefield pickups my not be what you need or viable, seen plenty of scrap on the ground.
    My second biggest fear when in the army was running out of ammo, my first was a toothache.
    I would not be bad to continually pick up spares along with more ammo, you never know in these times when all will disappear from the market.

  24. I buy the mags first and then the gun. I cannot tell you how many have bought an AR and realized they couldn’t find mags…

  25. Reply to Plainsmedic: I chose a 223 Remington over the triple deuce because components were so easy to find over the years. I never owned one and I never saw a good one for sale because they were snapped up and held onto by the owners. The 223 fills that niche in my collection. I have several rifles in 223 Remington. My heavy barrel can shoot 3 shot cloverleaf groups at 100 yards all day long.

    1. Cali, re: 223 Remington, I recently bought a Ruger American Preditor 223 Remington bolt action, for deer hunting. This takes Pmags, not the rotary mag. I have 10 round Pmags, one with a five round mag (has a limiter in it for hunting legality-more than one shot is a fail anyway, first one is the one that counts). Reviews generally positive on repeatable 100 yard range results, with various loads and manufacturers. Put a Vortex Ii 3×9 scope (old eyes) on it. Decided on this one versus the Mossberg 223/5.56 bolt, less positve range reviews, plus the backorder has been four months. Too cold for range time yet, but looking forward to dialing it in, debating a muzzle brake also. Way less kick versus the bolt 30-06, hopefully.

      1. Grey
        that 223 is going to seem like a pop gun compared to the .06.
        have fun

      2. OH, re: bear, only have Black Bear around here. Never hunted them, something about them bigger and faster than me and can climb trees. Same with Fisher Cats, they go one way, I go the other way. Ruger or not. Thanks for the info. 11 degrees F this morning, windy, spring has not sprung.

  26. Response to Grey: I hope you like the new rifle. I never got into the long range rifle craze after it became a craze in recent years. I did some competition in Palma Matches with bolt rifles that were rebarreled. Other shooting beyond 300 yards was punching out depredation permits by shooting deer across fields of green beans. ( technically, not hunting ). Working on and rebuilding old rifles into long distance rifles was cheaper than rebuilding classic cars – an affordable hobby. The cartridges I shoot and keep are the old classics that are frequently ignored today: 22 Hornet, 223 Rem. 30-06.

    I stay away from Alaska. I’ve been there 1 time to deliver a 375 H&H to a customer that lived on the Kenai Penninsula. It was a rebuild based on a Winchester African length action that had a blown-up barrel. ( New barrel, new stock ). The customer had very real bear problems. I do not know if he is still alive/lost touch with him. I do not like the idea of being lower on the food chain than the salmon-fed Kodiaks up there. When they charge, they look like a big fury Volkswagon Bug.

Comments are closed.